The Canadian Red Cross says that floods are the most frequent national disaster in Canada and if you’ve been watching the news recently, you’ve no doubt seen some of the alarming pictures coming out of Alberta and the cities and towns declaring states of emergency.
With the recent heavy rainfall in Alberta, the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority is preparing for water levels that haven’t been seen on the South Saskatchewan River in more than 100 years. So let’s state the obvious: PLEASE, stay off the river! Police will be patrolling and monitoring the areas but we ask you to remember that by nearing the water, you are not only risking your own personal safety, but the safety of all emergency personnel; avoid flooded areas and river activity for the next few weeks.
As of Monday morning, the river is flowing at more than 2,000 cubic meters per second following the release of more water from the Gardiner Dam on Saturday.
While it is unlikely that any Saskatoon homes will be threatened by this increase in water flow, we are urging people to exercise extreme caution around the river for the next few weeks.
As precautionary measures, the following locations are closed until further notice:
- Spadina Crescent and the Meewasin Valley Trail at Ravine Drive, and just south of the entrance to the Meewasin Park North shelter. Access to the parking lot will be maintained.
- The lower trail at the Mendel Art Gallery where it connects to the upper trail, including access to the Shearwater Tours dock and the Mendel Lookout.
- River Landing lower trail between the Traffic Bridge and the Sid Buckwold Bridge.
- The public boat launch in Kiwanis Park, north of the Broadway Bridge, is closed.
- Spadina Crescent underneath the Broadway Bridge is closed.
In the event of a flood:
- Turn off basement furnaces and outside gas valves
- Shut off electricity. If the area around the fuse box or circuit breaker is wet, stand on a dry wooden stick (such as a broom handle)
- Wear rubber boots or dry leather footwear and leather work gloves
- Never try to cross a flood area on foot. The fast water could sweep you away
- If you are in a vehicle, avoid driving through flood waters. Fast water could sweep your vehicle away.
- If you are caught in fast rising waters and your vehicle stalls, all occupants should exit as quickly as possible.
The Red Cross also has additional tips for before, during and after flooding which can be found here.
Assemble a basic emergency survival kit that consists of: flashlight and batteries, radio and batteries, spare batteries, first-aid kit, blankets or sleeping bags, toilet paper and other personal supplies, medication / prescriptions, backpack, candles and matches / lighter, food and bottled water, clothing and footwear, whistle (to attract attention if necessary) and important papers (ID). Learn more about how to be prepared for any type of disaster here.
Remember, in an emergency or to save a life, call 9-1-1 for help. You cannot currently text 9-1-1. If you are not experiencing an emergency, do not call 9-1-1.
Text instead of calling! In an emergency, the rush of people calling each other can overwhelm cell towers. Each cell tower can only handle so much cell traffic at the same time, so when that cell tower hits saturation that’s when you struggle to get a dial tone. Texting uses far less bandwidth, is a better option for keeping in touch with loved ones in the event of an emergency and is also less taxing on a phone’s battery, which could be critical in an emergency situation. Once a text message is sent, even if there is no bandwidth available at the time you hit ‘send,’ the message will go through as soon as it can.